Snowmobile World banner


4216 Views 36 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  99Indy500
It seems to be a practice to blast past other sleds on the trails. with many mixed results and some close calls or near colisions.   Since i most often ride with a group of slow riders I and or we are passed quite often.  I have observed quite a few different methods  some good but many mistakes.  
any one have a prefered method  besides good common sense and curtisy
I also find that it is hard to know when the rider in front knows that you want to pass.
1 - 20 of 37 Posts
I like to get up about a sled length behind and burp the stingers good and loud. Usually get some attention that way.
  i wont pass until you turn to see me! the trip pipes does not take long for you to hear me  
See less See more
This is always a scary situation for me. My first instinct is to pass as quickly as possible when it can be done safely with a full view of the trail ahead. Problem here comes in with a tall sled (M-10) and a lot of power (800 XCR). Most of the time I feel guilty about the roost coming from behind my sled, so I'm cautious, but I really don't know that my presence is known, and am not sure that the person is not about to swerve to miss a bump or something (don't ask me why I think like that). I've tried the approach of coming up close behind the person to be passed, and blipping the throttle, but it doesn't work well for me. Maybe my sled is too quiet, I don't know. Plus, I'm nervous about being that close, even at 15 or 20 mph.

If I know the trail well, and I know an intersection is close by,
I usually wait. Problems with this approach too. Many people
stop at the intersection, then blast through it, without knowing that someone has been patiently following for the last 5 minutes. (Group leaders - kindly check to see the last machine in the group is yours, for Pete's sake&#33

Last weekend I was out for a while and came up on a couple of sleds running at maybe 20 to 30mph. I wasn't in any hurry, but would like to have been running a little faster, so I followed patiently. The guy in back finally caught me out of the corner of his eye going around a corner following at a safe distance. He slowed and let me by with a casual wave of his hand, which I returned. A nice, easy, casual, pass, done in a professional manner. His buddy was a different story.

The section of trail we were in was kind of tight, so I had no choice but to follow patiently. We were coming up on an intersection soon, so I just enjoyed the scenery. When we got to the intersection, he stopped, turned around on his sled, and looked straight at me. Cool, I thought, and expected him to go through the intersection and allow me past on the other side (I was solo). NOT! The jerk continued on, only at a slightly faster pace. There was no way he could have confused me on my black sled for his buddy on a green one.

Sorry folks, this situation has just been interpeted as an informal challenge. Was he thinking that I had just joined him and his buddy as a third member of his group- riding in the middle of it? There was a staight section of trail coming up, and when we got there the coast was clear, so I took full advantage of it. Wasn't much of a contest. He was now the proud owner of a lap full of wet snow, and I felt no guilt.

Both of these sleds were equipped with rearview mirrors, but not riders that were using them. Mirrors should be standard equipment on any sled using the trail systems. Maybe then people will actually learn to use them. If you are using them, you can still be caught by surprise, but not nearly as often.

The sleds I pass, I try to treat as if my kid sister were the driver. From there on it's a judgement call, each situation is different. Sometimes there is no clear right or wrong. I ride in a very popular area, and when conditions are favorable, there are several hundred rental sleds on the trails. God only knows who is on the sled in front of you.

See less See more
Personally, I will not pass unless the person in front of me is aware I am doing so, and has clearly indicated that I should go around them.  I firmly believe that all riders should have mirrors of some sort and be aware of what is around them, just as in driving a car.  I myself have a mirror that I wear around my wrist (don't wanna drill holes in my hood.)  I maintain full situational awareness of what is going on around me, and expect others to do the same.  Doesn't always happen.

When someone passes without the passee being aware of it, there can be a major scare and when there is a sudden scare, there is one bet as to what that passee's reaction will be.  Human nature dictates that the person will turn away from the offending object, the passer.  That puts the passee off the trail on the right.

Also, when someone is passing an unaware person, they are gonna do it fast, potentially resulting in a rooster tail, possibly limiting the view of the passee - again a dangerous situation.

Have I ever passed an unaware person?  yes, of course.  But I can guarantee it was after miles of following and cursing a discourteous, unaware driver.

The rules on the trail are the same as the road.  If someone faster wants to pass, pull over and let them through -it is the safest thing to do.  In order to do that , you must be fully situationally aware.

So if you don't have a mirror, perhaps you should think hard about getting one.

See less See more
(Group leaders - kindly check to see the last machine in the group is yours, for Pete's sake&#33

Even when I ride in the back of the pack, I usually check behind me (maybe I'm paranoid), just to check for other sled's coming up behind me.
On the shorter trails I normally wait until an intersection/stop to pass, or a long open straight-away on the longer trails.
I have to agree with the last two guys, depends on the situation. We had a similar situation this year in the U.P. some guy was riding the trail with his kid (with him) and his wife. She let us pass at the intersection, he however wasn't as nice. We followed him quite awhile down this trail for a good 10-15 minutes, all the while he's using THE WHOLE TRAIL and leaving his wife way behind. None of the guy's i ride with are willing to put someone's life in danger by passing on a curve or going by within inches of another sled. But one by one, we enjoyed giving him a snow shower. It blew my mind that he could be so RUDE, when he knew darn well we were behind him, and that he left his wife waaaaaayyyyyyyy back. I hope she chewed him a new one.hahahaha


It's really not that hard to be curtious!
See less See more
Well, I wish everyone I encountered on the trails was as aware of thier surroundings as everyone here is... My biggest gripe has already been aired, that is - people who know you are behind them and will not take 5 seconds out of their ride to slow down and allow you to pass.  My second gripe is people who are riding down the trail completely oblivious to thier surroundings, and especially oblivious to my pipes rapping behind him.  I am dumbfounded when a person I have been patiently following through the twisties for 5 miles finally looks behind them and gets a surprised look on his face when he sees me on his butt.  Like, where else did they think that racket was coming from.  It all boils down to common sense and common courtesy, which it seem not enough people have much of both.  As for my preferred method of passing, I just pick my spot and go, lots of throttle, and I try to keep the rooster tail reasonable unless, well......unless my patience has worn thin.
See less See more
I always ride at the end of the line and check my mirror constantly.
Thundercatzr you can get mirrors that velcro onto your handlegrip.
really, zert?  where?  I suppose royal distributing would carry such a thing?  I have never seen those

do you use them?  my concern would be for stability?
I generally ride up as close as I can to the right hand side of the sled and reach over and hit the kill switch.
Anyone else using the normal hand signals when passing indicating there are others behind you that will also be passing? I've seen others do it, but not often. Been doing that for a while now while when part of a group. Sets the guys up in back of me for a much easier time passing. A lot of times the guys being passed just pull right over for them when they figure out there are more looking to pass.

Last year I was in the lead of a group that had been running down a section of trail that was an unused road during the winter. It has a very long straight section, maybe 6 or 7 miles long, thick, heavy, pine growth right out to the edge of the trail. At the end the trail makes a couple easy turns then gets into the twisties we had come to visit. We had just entered those and a newer MXZ came blasting past me, passing me on the outside of the curve, and forced 3 older sleds coming from the opposite direction off the trail into some light brush.

I thought at the time it was one of the guys I was running with who was running the same exact sled. The guys that had been run off never stopped and continued on. So I did.
For a couple of miles I was wondering to myself how I was going to handle my friend who had just committed one of the biggest blunders I had ever witnessed on a trail. I was dumbfounded. This guy was an ex pro racer. Not the type to pull a bone headed stunt like this.

We eventually came up on a main intersection with a trail map posted, and there was my guy, standing there looking at the trail map, his machine still running a few feet away. My buddy was still in back of me. I couldn't see him because of the twisties we had been in.

I approached this young man and lets just say he'll never forget an old man stabbing him repeatedly in the chest with a forfinger, toe to toe, all the while telling him about the virtues of safety, decency, common sense, a few new curses, the sad state of the sport because of people like him, etc. He was smart enough never to have said a word. He got back on his sled and left - slowly.

See less See more
good job, Al.  A stern lecture from a wise man leaves a more lasting impression than a smack in the head any day (even if they deserve both).

I dont know thunder..... when I was a little kid I had a little 100cc 4-wheeler and when I rode with my dad but I would always just go right across the road behind him and not look for myself. He told me to look quite a few times and I let it go in one ear and out the other. The next time I forgot to look both ways he stopped his machine, walked back to mine and said "look next time!" and proceeded to slap the side of my helmet with his bare hand. I just fell right over the other side, not hurt in the least but I will NEVER forget that day! I always look both ways now, even on a one way street, you never know!
point taken, Ryan - sometimes, I guess, a whack is just what is needed to make someone remember......
All I can say is it worked for me!
mirrors are nice if there being used , last weekend me my buddy ended up behind three sleds all toll six mirrors it was about a five mile narrow trail very rough  Now I don't Know if they were using the look behinds or not but I think it was very rude and inconsiderate to make us  follow for close to an hour to the end of the trail. Those who enjoy going for a nice leisurely Ryde thats fine but have a little courtesy  and let the other guy by. THATS WHERE YOU GET TRAIL RAGE and things happen and people get hurt.I usally wait and follow behind until they acknowledge me then I will pass with a wave of thanks and calling them all sorts of nice things under my helmet with a nice big smile .  Ha!Ha!Ha!
See less See more
I still can't figure out how I got this post in the polaris forum  I guess the forum moderators is to busy to move it..    It seems to me by reading these posts the passer is not  the problem it seems to be the passe (the one being passed)    As I mentioned I often lead a group of slow riders.  they are so slow it gets frustring for me also.  I have to remind myself sometimes that they are still having a good time.  I spend a lot of time looking back and in my mirrors.   I know we are going slow and if I see a sled coming up on the last rider I try to look for a place to pull off.  If I can't I try to wait until the trail is strait enough for the one behind to get by at a place they can see.  I don't know a better way to do it  I do know I have never made anyone follow for miles before they can get around us .    I know when my wife is riding  a sled blasting past will scare her. It has not scared her off the trail or to lose control but it still scares her mostly because she  won't know a different sled is behind her  she needs to be looking where she is going anyway. That is the type of rider she is  I feel I am lucky in one respect at least my wife does like to ride and oh yes I do on occasion punch the throttle and take off ( The frustration gets the best of me)  I never leave her far behind and always wait for her and the rest of the group.  
It seems most of us feel that commen sense and good judgement  are the best. I know we can all come up with different experiences to talk about.  maybe and experience forum?
See less See more
I know that it can be frustrating following slower riders but for the people that ride up on you and Brapp their pipes, Do you really think they can hear you?  I know I would not be able to because I also have pipes.
That was my point, somebody pulling up behind me, thinking that they are heard, or me doing the same thing to someone else, I agree, I don't believe it's a good idea. With todays helmets and the stock or slightly modified stock exhaust noise levels, well, I just don't think it's a good idea to make a move assuming that your presence is known. Someone running un-silenced pipes on a trail, for any reason.... I'll leave what I think of those people to another note, another time.

Giving your machine a big enough poke in the giddy-up to make enough noise, while close enough for the noise to be effective, doesn't exactly present itself as a safe situation to me either. But maybe that's just me. A smaller engine could be a different story, thinking about it. So speaking for myself, that's not something I want to be in the habit of doing with a large triple. A poke there is followed by a big surge, and neither seem to be noticed by someone not looking in their mirrors.

If you are in the clear enough to get your skis up past my rear bumper, forget about letting me know, just go on by. At that point your decision has already committed us to an accident if I decide it's time to dodge a bump.

On the point about being startled so badly that an accident was caused :
I would think worst case scenario by a rookie might cause locked up brakes. To have the presence of mind when startled to add an automatic swerve large enough to run off the trail to this maneuver would say that there was a presence of skill, and that presence would prevent that swerve. Just my opinion, would not have a leg to stand on in a debate.

See less See more
another note on not hearing someone behind me     Most of the time when I ride I wear ear protection.  You would have to have real loud pipes for me to hear you.  and to be perfectly honest.  I do not like loud pipes on a sled  that is out on the trail  Race tracks  are another story  another note on passing  When you go flying past someone at a higher rate of speed than they are going most are going to think negative about you.  if you pass at a reasonable rate of speed they still don't like being passed.  but do not think so negative about it  ( or remember it to complain to someone later)  I have noticed this on the highway also.  there are many people who do not like to be passed.    I do not mind  You may pass me anytime. all I ask is that you do it without interfering with me  ( don't make me brake or adjust my speed or endanger me in any way )  I do this all the time.
See less See more
1 - 20 of 37 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.